|Bad philosophy of the west|
January 30, 2007, 7:21:24 pm
I was watching some drama TV the other day and an old quote I'd heard before came up:
"You cannot control your emotions - only your actions"
It's quotes like these that sound like general and logical reason but are in fact wrong. Yes, of course you can control your actions.. but you can also control your emotions. I titled this post "of the west" because time and time again I see incorrect philosophy and reality in the form of munchy quotes. It's almost as bad as many pointless Zen quotes.
Okay, get to the point here - You can control your emotions. I remember an old story of how a Zen master in America mentioned how he can control his heart rate. Doctors in the audience, sure that this was not true - as the long held belief in the west was that the heart was just a muscle, part of the body machinery - they wanted a demonstration.
The Zen master had the doctors come up and measure his pulse. Sure enough, the heart rate increased, then on demand, decreased, then went back to normal. Astonished, the Doctored insisted he explain how he had done it. The answer is an obvious one - to increase his heart rate he thought of something that makes him mad. To lower his heart rate he thinks of something that makes him happy and at peace.
This is very obvious once you think about it. Your mind does control your body. Now back to the idea of your emotions. We can fall prey to some very easy-to-defeat emotions a lot of the time. The most common one is to second guess our fellow man and become angry.
Let us say we're driving along and somebody else on the road drives in a way that annoys us. They perhaps drive at exactly the speed limit when we're in a hurry, or perhaps they drive dangerously, cutting in front of us. What is going through their head? Well the normal human reaction is to project why we might be doing on them and assume that that is their motivation - what assholes they must be, since if I were doing it, I'd be being an asshole.
For all we know, though, they may be rushing to get their medication back home before they collapse and end up in hospital. Or worse, perhaps they are driving home in a state of semi-shock because their just found out their parent had died. These are not exceptional circumstances. There is always a reason for another persons emotion state that drives their actions. However, their state of mind not is what should drive your emotions. We have needlessly allowed ourselves to get worked up.
Instead of getting worked up, we can realise that what has happened has simply happened and it doesn't effect our life negatively or positively unless we allow it to in our own minds. If we get upset, the event effected us negatively. If we don't get upset.. the event is completely neutral. We -choose- to get upset and can equally choose not to get upset. This kind of mental training isn't for everyone - actually, it's part of the path toward enlightenment. But hey, perhaps if we can get a few more people in the world to start thinking about these things and practicing these things.. general positiveness will increase instead of the apparent negativity that seems to be spreading pointlessly.
By Jason Grossman on January 30, 2007, 11:00:09 pm